Carnage fuels curfew call

PM endorses plan after attacks kill 7, wound 11

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has expressed support for a curfew in the far South after a string of attacks killed five soldiers and two other people in the region yesterday.

Policeexaminethe debris of a car that had been carrying a concealed bombin tambon Tha Thong ofRamandistrict in Yala province yesterday.The carbomb wasdetonated whena truck carrying troopswas passing by.

Another 11 people, both military and civilian, were also injured, including three children.

In the deadliest attack, five soldiers were killed in a combined bomb and gun attack in Yala.

Six soldiers from Yala Task Force 12 were travelling in a six-wheeled truck in Raman district yesterday morning when they were attacked, first by a car bomb and then by gunmen.

The soldiers were on their way to pick up farm workers at Ban Upoh in tambon Wang Phaya as part of the army's security provision for civilian workers in the region.

Five of the soldiers were killed in the attack, and the sixth wounded. Two rubber-tappers working nearby were also hurt.

Responding to the news, Ms Yingluck expressed her backing for Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung's call for a curfew to be imposed.

Mr Chalerm suggested the curfew, covering limited areas of the deep South, on Wednesday after the murders of two farmers in Pattani and four fruit traders in Yala last week.

The imposition of a curfew would be considered area-by-area and would be accompanied by other security measures, Ms Yingluck said.

Security officials will meet on Friday to discuss the plan.

The attack on the soldiers occurred at 7.05am yesterday on the Wang Phaya-Tha Thong road in tambon Tha Thong.

As the soldiers drove to pick up the farm workers, they found their route blocked by a pickup truck.

It was loaded with a homemade bomb weighing an estimated 50kg, which was detonated by militants hiding nearby. The explosion overturned the soldiers' truck, and then another pickup carrying six armed men arrived at the scene.

The militants shot dead five of the soldiers, stole their weapons and fled.

The five soldiers killed were Sgt Thirayuth Boontera, Pvt Isha Ba-ngoy, Pvt Pongthep Phadmak, Pvt Songchai Suwanmanee and Pvt Nuldee Reesen. MSG Chatree Uthahorn was wounded.

Investigators found an ID card belonging to a 16-year-old from Narathiwat's Rueso district at the scene. He was rounded up for questioning.

Police said the pickup truck planted with the bomb may have belonged to Somsak Kwanma, a teacher at Ban Bango School in tambon Panan of Pattani's Mayo district, who was shot dead on Dec 11. Somsak's killers stole his vehicle after the attack.

About 2pm yesterday a group of eight rangers was attacked by militants in Narathiwat's Rangae district.

The rangers' pickup truck was overturned by an explosion from a bomb planted on a road leading to Ba-ngo Kubo village, Pol Lt Col Boonmee Thaion of Rangae police station said. Four of the rangers were injured and taken to the district hospital, he said.

In Pattani, two people were shot dead and four others, including three children, were injured in separate shooting attacks.

The first incident took place in the early hours of yesterday in Yaring district. Lateh Awae, 56, was shot twice in the head and died in front of his house at Ban Dan village, tambon Talo Kapo.

About 1pm, police were alerted to the fatal shooting of a man on a local road in Sai Buri district. The victim was identified as Kriangsak Sermsarngsuk, 35, a tablet PC merchant from Bangkok.

He was found dead in the driver's seat of a sedan with several gunshot wounds.

Witnesses said two men on a motorcycle followed Kriangsak's car and the pillion rider opened fire at him.

In Nong Chik district, four people, including three children, were injured after suspected insurgents sprayed bullets at several houses about 6pm.

The injured were taken to Nong Chik Hospital.

An explosive ordnance disposal officer inspects the wreck of a sixwheeled truckdamaged byyesterday’s carbomb. Gunmenopened fire on the truck just after it had beenhitbythe blast.They killed five soldiers and injured another. PHOTOS BYMUHAMMADAYUB PATHAN

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